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Indie Theater Roundup: 7 Movies to See This Week

No need to pity the fool. If spending your weekend with B.A. Baracus and the rest of the reconstituted A-Team doesn't strike your fancy, you still have time to catch Michael Douglas' mesmerizing turn in Solitary Man, or Noomi Rapace's astonishing coming-out party in The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. Here, as always, are some of the finest films currently playing at an indie theater near you.

1. Burning Man Film Festival
Where: Red Vic Movie House, 1727 Haight St., 415-668-3994
When: June 12-13
Why: You've spent hundreds on tickets. You've made Nevada's Black Rock City your unofficial second home. Now, for a few dollars more, you can celebrate Burning Man's 25th anniversary at the Red Vic, for two days of short- and feature-length films that trace the countereculture art festival's early history and examine how it's evolved into the epic-scale business enterprise it is today.

2. Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work
Where: Embarcadero Center Cinema, 1 Embarcadero Ctr., 415-352-0835
When: All Week
Why: It’s a startling revelation, seeing the famously tough Joan Rivers revealing such vulnerability in Ricki Stern and Anne Sundberg's A Piece of Work. Here, the two filmmakers delve into the comedian's personal and professional lives, and all they reveal points to a complicated and bittersweet portrait of a woman clinging to the fame she considers rightfully hers, tormented by insecurities and desperate to stay in the spotlight.

3. It Came From Kuchar
Where: Red Vic Movie House, 1727 Haight St., 415-668-3994
When: June 14-15
Why: San Francisco underground filmmakers George and Mike Kuchar get their due in Jennifer Kroot's doting documentary, which features revealing testimonials by the cinematic storytellers they influenced, including John Waters and Atom Egoyan. Kroot and George Kuchar, a longtime champion of B-movie sleaze and campy, made-on-the-cheap melodrama, will attend Monday's screenings to present one of his shorts; brother Mike will present one of his own Tuesday.

4. Solitary Man
Where: Sundance Kabuki Cinemas, 1881 Post St., 415-929-4650
When: All Week
Why: It is tempting to think of Solitary Man a belated coming-of-age story, but that would suggest Ben Kalmen (Michael Douglas, brilliant) learns something from his rapid nosedive to the nadir of a lengthy midlife crisis. One of the movie’s great strengths, in its convincing portrayal of a man unwilling or unable to put the brakes on his decline, is that Kalmen’s redemption is left as unfinished business. Screenwriter Brian Koppelman offers no facile solutions, and Douglas, who has played different versions of Kalmen before, doesn't leave us wanting them.

5. Ondine
Where: Clay Theatre, 2261 Fillmore St., 415-346-1124
When: All Week
Why: The resurrection of Colin Farrell continues with Neil Jordan's whimsical fantasy about an Irish fisherman who happens on a mythical sea creature (Alicja Bachleda) and takes her in. The rewards are immediate: Her otherworldly beauty and disarming tenderness reawaken his spirit; her gift for song leaves his fishing nets full of fresh catch. Jordan's fairy tale may seem slight, but thanks to cinematographer Christopher Doyle (Paranoid Park), it boasts a rare visual splendor.

6. Splice
Where: Sundance Kabuki Cinemas, 1881 Post St., 415-929-4650
When: All Week
Why: Genetic engineers Clive (Adrien Brody) and Elsa (Sarah Polley) want to experiment with human DNA, but the pharmaceutical company that subsidizes their research forbids it. They could put the idea to bed, but what fun would that be? Emboldened by their recent successes, which include a hybrid caterpillar rich with life-saving proteins, they throw a human embryo into the mix, with disastrous, comic and disturbingly kinky results.

7. Micmacs
Where: Embarcadero Center Cinema, 1 Embarcadero Ctr., 415-352-0835
When: All Week
Why: Jean-Pierre Jeunet (Amélie, The City of Lost Children) returns with another wildly original madcap fantasy – also, the opening-night selection at last month's San Francisco International Film Festival – about a luckless homeless man (Dany Boon) who concocts an ambitious plan to take revenge on the weapons manufacturers responsible for ruining his life.